1961-1965: Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism
The Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism marked the culmination of Jorn’s interest in folk art, Nordic tradition, and archaeology.
In 1961 – the year that Jorn officially left the Situationist Internationale – he set up the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism.
An alternative to art history
The objective behind the institute was to raise critical awareness and to act as an alternative to academic art history. By publishing a 32-volume series of books on 10,000 years of Nordic Folk Art the institute was to conduct image-based art research.
Jorn hired the French photographer Gerard Franceschi to take pictures for the project. Together, they travelled throughout Scandinavia, photographing visual art from prehistoric times onwards. They took more than 25,000 photographs over the course of the institute’s 3-year existence.
Closing down the institute
The institute was closed down in 1965, partly due to financial difficulties, and partly due to creative differences between Jorn, Franceschi, external co-writers, and the publisher.
The book series was never realised, but Jorn managed to print 120 copies of the sample volume 12th Century Stone Sculptures of Scania and to prepare six volumes that were published after Jorn’s death.